Last week, our FCS staff of Brian McLaughlin, Chase Kiddy and I spent four hours coming up with our preseason All-American teams. After spending a considerable amount of time finding 15 worthy offensive linemen, we all agreed it’d get easier from there. That is until we got to the quarterbacks.
At least 10 different guys were mentioned at some point as worthy candidates to be named on our first, second or third team. While some who ended up not making the All-American teams may feel disrespected and, as the popular phrase is at this time of the year, “slept on,” not being named one of the best three quarterbacks out of 125 starters should not be taken as disrespectful.
But nonetheless, we decided it’d be a good idea to tip our caps to those guys who have an argument to be a preseason All-American, but ultimately didn't make the list.
Here are the players ranked 4-10.
Note: Kennesaw State quarterback Chandler Burks and Montana State quarterback Chris Murray were honored on the All-American teams as athletes for their dual-threat abilities. Howard's Caylin Newton was selected as an athlete.
4. Brad Mayes – Lehigh
2017 Stats (FCS rank): 3,886 yards passing (4th), 31 TDs (T5th), 12 INT., -45 yards rushing, 2 TDs
The Patriot League isn't quite the strongest in the FCS, but Mayes showed his talent against some tough nonconference opponents. Villanova's defense is always terrific. Mayes shredded them for 406 yards and four touchdowns. Yale won the Ivy League title, but allowed 304 yards passing and three touchdowns. And in the first-round playoff loss to the CAA's Stony Brook, Mayes had 333 yards and another three scores.
He's proven he's among the FCS elite. His top two targets were seniors in 2017. But expect a huge senior season as his NFL stock rises.
NC A&T Athletics[/credit]
2017 Stats (FCS rank): 2,932 yards passing (17th), 27 TDs (11th), 7 INT., 168 yards rushing, 3 TDs
Raynard is currently the 27th best quarterback prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft, which is No. 3 out of FCS QBs behind Easton Stick and Gage Gubrud. He led the Aggies to an undefeated season last year and a Celebration Bowl win. Raynard scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 38 seconds remaining.
NC A&T is routinely sending players to the NFL. A big senior season could mean Raynard is next on that list.
2017 Stats (FCS rank): 3,433 yards passing (9th), 26 TDs (T13th), 10 INT., 162 yards rushing, 1 TD
Knight has led the high-flying Wildcats offense the last two seasons, putting up big numbers. He's already eighth on the UNH career list with 5,271 passing yards. Knight threw for a couple touchdowns against FBS Georgia Southern last year in a 22-12 win. Watch out for a Sept. 15 game this season when UNH travels to Colorado.
His favorite target is back in wide receiver Neil O'Connor, who had almost 1,400 yards receiving last season. The Wildcats are getting a lot of preseason love this summer, and Knight is a big reason for that.
7. Jake Maier – UC Davis
UC Davis Athletics[/credit]
2017 Stats (FCS rank): 3,669 yards passing (6th), 26 TDs (T13th), 10 INT., -21 yards rushing, 1 TD
Maier burst onto the scene last year as a sophomore and was named the Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year. He averaged a terrific 331.6 offensive yards per game and set school records with 306 completions and nine 300-yard games. It was his first year in the UC Davis system after transferring, so watch out for what Year 2 brings.
It obviously helps with receiver Keelan Doss returning. Doss is an NFL Draft prospect. But Maier spread the love and also has his top tight end back in Wesley Preece, who led the team with nine touchdown grabs last season.
2017 Stats (FCS rank): 3,515 yards passing (7th), 35 TDs (2nd), 14 INT., 500 yards rushing, 9 TDs
Christion has been lighting up Missouri Valley Football Conference defenses for a couple years now. He played absolutely huge in back-to-back regular season victories against NDSU, two program-defining wins. Christion won the MVFC Offensive Player of the Year award as a sophomore in 2016. He wasn't far from winning it again last year.
It'll be interesting to see how his numbers turn out in 2018 with Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke in the NFL. The Jackrabbits may run the ball a bit more. But Christion also is going to be relied on to make plays with his arm and feet, something he's proven capable of.
2017 Stats (FCS rank): 3,131 yards passing (14th), 33 TDs (3rd), 3 INT., 17 yards rushing, 1 TD
San Diego pulled off two big shockers the last two FCS playoffs. As a non-scholarship team out of the Pioneer Football League, the Toreros knocked off Big Sky opponents in the first round in back-to-back years. Lawrence has been a part of that as a steady and reliable signal caller. He threw just three interceptions last season. Three.
Northern Arizona had one of the best offenses in the Big Sky last season. But it was Lawrence who put on a show in the playoffs in a 41-10 win. He threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the upset.
10. Case Cookus – Northern Arizona
2017 Stats (FCS rank): 3,413 yards passing (10th), 22 TDs (T23rd), 6 INT., -14 yards rushing, 2 TDs
Cookus took over the Big Sky as a freshman in 2015, winning the Jerry Rice Award for best freshman in the FCS. He was sidelined the next season with an injury, but came back strong in 2017. Cookus threw for 306 yards against Arizona in Week 1 and then 221 yards against Western Illinois out of the MVFC the next week.
Cookus threw for more than 300 yards in a game six times, including two 400-yard games. Pro prospect Emmanuel Butler is back at wide receiver for his senior season after having last year cut short with an injury. Expect records to be broken with Cookus behind center.